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Behold The Secret Life of Cato

Interview: Cato

By day Jarrett Cato is the Senior Marketing Software Account Manager for Pica9, a Music Supervisor at DJ MLC and by night he transitions to an indie soul singer named Cato with two international hits.
“My curse and my blessing,” says Cato.
Cato appeared on the music radar in 2013 with ‘Honey Drip’, a sultry song he reworked into a House hit with Producer/DJ Raffa “Moon Rocket” Scoccia. The song, which is mature and can remind hardcore house listeners of Ralf GUM’s ‘Take Me To My Love,’ picked up more play outside U.S. borders in South Africa, Angola, Italy, United Kingdom and Jamaica.
“People started to get familiar with the track ‘Honey Drip’ and it started to be (played) on many digital radio stations,” says Raffa Scoccia. “We received many messages of people telling us they heard the track and they couldn’t stop listen(ing) to it, especially from South Africa where there is a very strong fan base.”
Cato followed up with ‘Do It Again,’ a soulful earworm, which also found some popularity abroad, in France. The track is very much the tone of R&B that attaches itself to grown-folks music and lands a guy like Cato on my playlist. I hit up Cato to know more about this upcoming artist who has dropped two more singles since but refuses to produce a compilation, just yet.
Prior to releasing his singles, Cato covered popular R&B songs for his YouTube channel and meddled in New York’s open mic nights, where he met Raffa Scoccia. He tried his hand at American Idol but was cut after a couple of rounds because he wasn’t the “TV talent” the producers were looking for. Cato turned the rejection into inspiration and began songwriting. One of his upcoming singles titled ‘Euphoria’ is the first song he ever wrote.
“I feel like I’m supposed to be in music and I feel like that’s when I’m happiest.” Like most recording artist, there’s a direct relationship between the music they produce and the life they live. Cato says he draws lyrics from his own experiences and the circumstances of his friends and family.
Surrounded by soul, gospel, 90’s R&B and funk, Cato’s childhood was filled with classic sounds from Chaka Khan, Brandy, Quincy Jones, Barry White and many others who were “masters of their crafts.”

Cato started singing when he was five-years-old and he heard his sister singing SWV’s ‘So Weak’ in her car. His mother eventually encouraged him to join the church’s youth choir and as he got older, he moved onto the adult choir. Young Cato advanced from singing Catholic school hymns to leading the same gospel choir once lead by songstress Lauryn Hill at Columbia High School. In college, he went on to take on the nickname Pluto, when he became a member of the Dartmouth Aires, since he was so tall that his head was farthest from the other choir members.
Although, Cato has a rich musical background, he didn’t play any aspect of that up until he got established. He graduated from college with an Asian Middle Eastern studies degree, then worked for an international advertisement translation company and then as a teacher in China where learned a martial arts form in China. He also managed a successful blog with some of his college mates while he was unemployed during the height of the recession in 2008. Yeah, jovial Jarrett kept hush about Cato for quite some time. Technically, he has a triple life (the third aspect is clearly a sign that he’ll be sparring on-screen with Donnie Yen in the future).
Singing copy
Now, Cato is 29 living in “the artist colony” called Brooklyn and keeping up his double life as a self-described soul singer who loves R&B and has a full-blown career with a software enterprise. His choice of using his surname as his moniker instead of his first sums up his double living.
“Cato’s my family name – there was a time when I didn’t embrace it because people used to mispronounce it,” he says. “It was a weird thing to be ashamed of, but it mirrors how I used to downplay my love of music. As I got older and discovered myself, I realized how important music was to me.”
If R&B is soul food for the ears then Cato’s sound is the hot plate you can smell from the kitchen. Though, he took time in 2014 to concentrate on recording and producing, Cato is expecting 2015 to be different. A premier album and  his return to New York’s endless open mic scene is a part of the year’s resolutions.
To find out more about Cato, click here.

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